Hahn donates award winnings to found a First Translation Prize

Hahn donates award winnings to found a First Translation Prize

Writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn is donating half his winnings from the International Dublin Literary Award to help establish a new prize for debut literary translation - the TA First Translation Prize. 

Hahn today (21st June) won the €25,000 for his translation of José Eduardo Agualusa's A General Theory of Oblivion from Portuguese.

He said that although he was "as broke as the next translator" the prize-pot was "so generous" he wanted to use a portion to help newcomers to the profession, which still remains "difficult" to break into, he said. 

Hahn's endowment will go towards funding the prize during its first few years. Its aim is to recognise "excellent debut literary prose translation published in the UK". It is also being supported by the British Council and will be run by The Society of Authors alongside its nine other translation awards.

The £2,000 prize for 2017 (for books published between April 2016 and March 2017) will be shared equally between the first-time translator and their editor. The prize is open for entries from August until September 2017 and will be awarded for the first time in February 2018. Full details of the prize will be available by the end of July.

Hahn said: “I was very fortunate to have been named as one of the winners of the International Dublin Literary Award, alongside my friend José Eduardo Agualusa (the first writer I ever translated). Obviously, I’m as broke as the next translator, but the prize pot of the IDLA is so generous that even half of it is a sizeable amount to keep; so, I’m giving the other half to support the first few years of a new prize, which will be run by the Society of Authors."

"The translation profession has changed tremendously in the last decade or so, and to my mind overwhelmingly for the better, but it remains a difficult one for newcomers to break into, so the new prize will be for a debut literary translation, and it will be shared between the translator and his/her editor. So, it’s recognising new talent in the translation profession, but also those editors who take a chance on a debut and then work with them to make them better – a role we all depend on, but don’t acknowledge often enough.”

Antonia Lloyd-Jones, joint chair of the Translators Association, said the new prize would be "a ground-breaking addition to the world of literary translation". "By encouraging talented new translators, as well as visionary editors, it will increase the range of great literature that's available in translation, and strengthen the relationships between publishers and translators,” she said.